30 by 30 Conservation Task Force to host virtual listening sessions on protecting Illinois’ land and water

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For Immediate Release – February 28, 2022

30 by 30 Conservation Task Force to host virtual listening sessions on protecting Illinois’ land and water

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ newly established 30 by 30 Conservation Task Force will host a series of virtual listening sessions over the next eight weeks to discuss the future of natural land and water in Illinois and set an ambitious goal for conservation.

The task force, comprising stakeholders such as farmers, hunters and environmental scientists, will explore how Illinois can protect 30% of its land and water resources by 2030. It’s part of a larger national and multinational effort.

“The 30 by 30 Conservation Task Force offers a valuable opportunity to bring together people from all over Illinois with diverse experiences and perspectives when it comes to land use and conservation,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “This is an important step in addressing climate change and protecting the environment for generations to come.”

Conserving 30% of land and water by the year 2030 is the amount scientists have argued is the minimum effort needed to mitigate the effects of climate change and save an estimated 1 million species currently at risk of extinction.

The idea for an Illinois 30 by 30 task force originated with a group of Pontiac Township High School students who wrote the legislation, testified in hearings and lobbied lawmakers about why the initiative is important. The plan was approved by both houses of the Legislature with unanimous bipartisan support, and Gov. JB Pritzker signed it into law Aug. 27.

“Being on the 30 by 30 Task Force as a student leader is an empowering role as I get to be an important part in taking a step forward on conserving our land,” said Emma O’Lone, 18, Odell. “One of our first steps with the task force is hosting public listening sessions, and it is crucial that we have plenty of citizens attending so that their voices can be heard and have a fair input on Illinois’ conservation.”

A series of virtual listening sessions are scheduled to gather input from Illinois residents regarding the state’s conservation goals and strategies to get achieve them. In particular, the task force is seeking public input on:

  • Resources the state has and how they are being utilized to protect land and water
  • Tools, resources and incentives that exist for landowners and the private sector to restore degraded natural areas and to manage resources sustainably
  • Financial resources from the private sector, philanthropy, and public sources that are available to expand protections and help manage lands and waters for conservation
  • The state’s ability to manage more public lands for the benefit of future generations
  • Strategies to conserve and protect 30% of Illinois’ land and water by 2030

Ava Nollen, a senior at Pontiac Township High School, has been involved in getting the task force off the ground.

“I’m so glad I got to join this task force, as it has enlightened me to so many opportunities that young people have to create a better world for future generations,” Nollen said. “These listening sessions are imperative to our success in conserving Illinois.”

To request an opportunity to speak during a listening session, or to submit written comments, email DNR.30×30@illinois.gov. The public is invited to tune in online or by phone even if they don’t intend to provide comments.

Details about the first three listening sessions are below. More information about the task force and upcoming listening sessions can be found online at https://bit.ly/IL30x30.

Session 1: Agricultural Areas11:45 a.m. March 3Link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=ma6d4df6d01873e391cd8416c895a020d Join by phone: 312-535-8110Meeting number: 246 381 01680

Session 2: Cities and Towns11:45 a.m. March 17Link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mc830a8c88d6c2a7a897b05bc3d81c36cJoin by phone: 312-535-8110Meeting number: 246 197 15739

Session 3: Natural Areas11:45 a.m. March 31Link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=m4afc68c3058168d2faa4f59217c47c6eJoin by phone: 312-535-8110Meeting number: 245 800 56138

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March 29, 2022 at 08:31PM

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